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September 23, 2003



well, i suspect that you are going to mention this, but your concept of secularization seems to owe a lot to the sort of anti-clerical movement that was/is common in catholic europe and latin america. it is less appropriate in the anglo-spheric (and germanic) countries, especially ones like england which have an established church. though i tend to agree (speaking as an atheist of muslim origin) that 'modernists' are shallow and superficial-how do you mean they are much worse? after all, ineffectual soulless modernists are far less likely to engage in violence. of course, you could argue that the baathist and arabist movements are modernist, and they have plenty of blood on their hands. and interesting, i do believe they draw from continental philosophical sources, which were often anti-clerical (though not always, as that gets confused on the european fascist Right).


Very interesting post Thebit. I do hope you develop this theme further because I think it is at the heart of the so-called "Islam vs. The West" clash, although secularism has been a force in the Muslim world since colonial times.

I would define modernism a little differently (as a phenomenon in the sphere of Muslim scholarship) than you've hinted at, so I'd really like to see you define what you mean here a bit more.

The biggest 'worry' I have is secularised education (which is why my husband and I are considering homeschooling). As Syed Ali Ashraf says(1), human beings operate at a holistic level and to ignore 'spiritual' training and divorce it from 'skills' training is to fracture the human being. It is precisely because we need spiritual training so that we can implement morals and ethics in our political, social and economic aspects that we desperately need to reject the secularisation of education.

Part of countering secularisation is dealing with the secularist accusation that faith-based activity is doctrinaire and biased. As you say, though, secularism is it's own ideology.

(1) Ashraf, Syed Ali, "Editorial: Can University Education be anything but Liberal?", Muslim Education Quarterly, Syed Ali Ashraf (ed)., Vol. 2, No. 1, (Cambridge: The Islamic Academy, 1993) 1-2.

Andrew Reeves

You are right, of course. Secularism and pluralism *cannot* exist together with either Christianity or Islam. Either the religion itself becomes compromised and gives way to unbelief (as has happened with Christianity) or the religion drives out pluralism and imposes the proper sort of belief on the people at large (as is currently happening with Islam). Sadly, though, the implications of this are a never-ending three-way war between Christianity, Islam, and Secularism until the world has been scoured clean of two of the three. I wish like hell that you were wrong, that one could believe in Islam/Christianity and pluralism. As it stands now, the twenty-first century is going to be long and bloody, in all likelihood ending with the victory of Islam.


Thanks for your comments, Razib, Maryam and Andrew. Some interesting points, well made.

Sadly, I will not be in a position to respond till sometime next week, because I have to be out of town with work.

William Cooper

"This book [speaking of the bible] is the secret of
England's greatness." Queen, Victoria Windsor

"My daily advisor and comfort is the impregnable rock
of the Holy Scriptures." Gladstone, architech of
American law

"You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of
life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ.
These will make you a greater and happier people than
you are. Congress will do every thing they can to
assist you in this intention." a message to the
Native American Indians, May, 12th, 1779 by, George
Washington, 1st US President

"Religion and virtue are the only foundations, not
only of republicanism and of all free government, but
of social felicity under all governments and in all
the combinations of human society." John Adams, 2nd
US President

"I have always said, and will always say, that the
studious perusal of the sacred volume will make us
better citizens, better husbands, and better fathers."
Thomas Jefferson, 3rd US President, 1st Washington
D.C. school board president

"Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil
Society, he must be considered as a subject of the
Governor of the Universe... Religion... is the basis
and foundation of government." James Madison, 4th US
President, chief architect of the Constitution

"The Declaration of Independence first organized the
social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's
mission upon earth and laid the corner stone of human
government upon the first precepts of Christianity."
John Quincy Adams, 6th US President

"The bible is the rock on which our Republic rest."
Andrew Jackson, 7th US President

"I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take
all of this upon reason that you can, and balance on
faith, and you will live and die a better man."
Abraham Lincoln, 16th US President

"I am sorry for the men who do not read the Bible
daily. I wonder why they deprive themselves of the
strength and the pleasure. I should be afraid to go
forward if I did not believe that there lay at the
foundation of all schooling and all our thought this
imcomparable and unimpeachable Word of God." Woodrow
Wilson, 28th US President

"Almost every man who has by his life work added to
the sum of human achievements of which the race is
proud - has based his life work largely upon the
teachings of the Bible." Theodore Roosevelt, 32nd US

"Religion is the only solid basis of good morals;
therefore, education should teach the precepts of
religion, and the duties of man towards God."
Gouveneur Morris, scribe / handwriter of the

"Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scuple not to
call him an enemy to this country." John
Whitherspoon, Continental Congress, Declaration of

"Providence has given to our people the choice of
their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the
privelege and interest of our Christian Nation to
select and prefer Christians for their rulers." John
Jay, 1st Supreme Court Justice

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often
that this great nation was founded, not by
religionist, but by Christians, not on religions but
on the gospel of Jesus Christ! For this reason
peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum,
prosperity and freedom of worship here." Patrick
Henry, Continental Congress

"...convincing proofs I see... that God governs in the
affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the
ground without His notice, is it probable that an
empire can rise without His aid?" Benjamin Franklin,
Constitutional Convention,

"Of all the dipositions and habits which lead to
political prosperity, religion and morality are
indispensable supports... . Reason and experience
both forbid us to expect that national morality can
prevail in exclusion of religious principles."
Alexander Hamiltion, 1st Secretary of Treasurer

"The moral principles and precepts contained in the
Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil
constitutions and laws... . All the miseries and
evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition,
injustice, opppression, slavery, and war, proceed from
their despising or neglecting the precepts contained
in the Bible." Noah Webster, American Revolutionist,
Constitutional Convention, Dictionary

"There is not a community which cannot be purified,
redeemed and improved by a better knowledge and larger
application of the Bible to daily life." W.J. Bryan,
Democratic Orator and statesman, ran three times for
presidency and failed, nicknamed the Commoner

"I suspect that the future progress of the human race
will be determined by the circulation of the Bible."
Dr. R.A. Millikan, 1923 Nobel prize winner in physics

"Our ways; through a Christian President, finally
outlawed slavery in America with the world soon
following its lead. The great freedoms we enjoy are
the direct result of the Christian faith of our
predecessors. No great civilization or religion from
the world did it; it was our Christian Forefathers and
Foremothers and their open faith in God through the
Jesus Christ that did." William M.
Cooper, [email protected]

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